RE: Free Phone App for emergency GPS co ordinates etc

To: Susanne Gardiner <>
Subject: RE: Free Phone App for emergency GPS co ordinates etc
From: Matthew Willis <>
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2016 07:05:17 +0000
For geocaching I usually use my GPS in conjunction with the phone. The phone is great for showing a better and clearer map view if you want to see what caches are in the area generally. When it has reception it makes checking logs and photos (eg, if you need to use a spoiler photo for those ones where you have hiked for two hours to find something that is tucked behind one of the 4.8 million large rocks at the indicated GZ) easier. The GPS itself is more accurate I find (as well as having a better battery life, a screen that stays on, is sturdier and so on and still has all the data downloaded whether you have reception or not).

I have very much learned that having more than one source of information is the key for when the GPS goes astray.

On Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 5:26 PM, Susanne Gardiner <> wrote:

I use an app for geocaching on my phone (android) and the phone's GPS works also when not in normal phone range, even in flight mode. It does use battery power, but you probably wouldn't have to have it on continuously unless you want to track your progress. You can also take a power pack and or a small solar recharger with you on longer outings/hikes to recharge your phone.  
The GPS units I've seen so far take AAA or AA batteries, which are easy to replace. 

Some areas in Namadgi are magnetically challenging and can give you a false reading on your compass. Just be aware and check your position regularly. Having different ways of verifying where you are helps as well.

Apart from any gadgets and equipment, I'd let someone know where approximately you are going to be and when you intend to return and when they should start getting edgy if you haven't checked in with them. 

Thanks for all the other information provided in the previous emails. I will certainly check out some of them. 


From: David Rees <>
To: Matthew Willis <>
Cc: Martin <>; "Baird, Ian" <m("","Ian.Baird");" target="_blank">>; kym bradley <m("","goldnbits");" target="_blank">>; "" <m("","canberrabirds");" target="_blank">>
Sent: Monday, 1 February 2016, 15:24
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] RE: Free Phone App for emergency GPS co ordinates etc

The nice thing with the likes of  memory map is you can download maps onto your PC and print out those bits out you need, much cheaper than buying them printed traditionally.  Can also laminate them to provide a more robust product than a traditional folded map or you can laser print them double-sided onto waterproof paper.  Agree on having back-up such as a simple compass.  I would not rely on a mobile phone map only in a difficult location and I to carry a registered  PLB these days for remote area use.  


On Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 2:52 PM, Matthew Willis <> wrote:
I once made the mistake of going off-track in Namadgi relying on a GPS app and downloaded maps stored on my phone. I had a backup power supply. None of this helped me at all when I lost the phone from my pocket while going through heavy scrub. Without backup navigation tools and with the loss of line of sight that can happen almost instantly out there, I was totally lost. Luckily a friend had convinced me not long before to buy a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). It was - quite possibly literally - a life saver.

Phone-based apps can be excellent, but my advice is not to rely on them as your all-in-one solution if deviating from constructed and maintained tracks. As well as the PLB, I won't go anywhere away from signed and frequently-trod trails now without a GPS receiver (they can be had from around $200), a compass and a decent topographic map (and various other emergency bits and pieces). GPSr batteries will last a lot longer than a phone battery and PLBs have batteries that last unused for about seven years and when activated send a very precise location signal (automatically picked up by the rescue coordination centre) for at least 24 hours continuously.

I realise this group is about birding and not some of the hiking done by other groups I belong to (like the Canberra and Brindabella Bushwalking Clubs) but since the topic came up, I hope no-one minds me throwing my two cents' worth it.



On Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 1:57 PM, Martin <> wrote:
One point to bear in mind is that many GPS type apps chew batteries rather quickly.  It's no use having the coords if the phone won't work.


Sent from my iPhone

On 1 Feb 2016, at 11:27, David Rees <> wrote:

Re map apps. I have been using 'Memory Map' for Off-line topo /street and HEMA maps on my PC plus on the phone/tablet for a while now.  Works good in Australia, and in NZ and the UK from experience. On Andriod app is free plus base 1:250,000 map of Australia can be downloaded free also.  On Apple I think you have to pay a small fee. 

Young ones need to understand that such apps work with off-line maps loaded in advance onto your phone and don't need a data connection to operate - sort of essential in rural Australia.   package will give GPS read-out, tracking etc.

From experience many Sat phones have a feature that will simply send current GPS data as a text.


On Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 9:39 AM, Baird, Ian <> wrote:
Agreed, very useful and worth having for emergencies.
Also, as many will know, there are also apps for IOS/Android mobile phones which allow topographic maps to be used anywhere eg. Mud Map 3 – but these and the downloadable maps cost money.
Ian B.
From: kym bradley [
Sent: Monday, 1 February 2016 8:29 AM
Subject: [canberrabirds] Free Phone App for emergency GPS co ordinates etc
May be a handy app for people like myself who go bush,  as you never know what could happen  I am sure they would have it for android as well
Safety first
The app displays the GPS coordinates of the phone's location, which a caller can read to the emergency operator.
Description Save the app that could save your life. ‘Emergency +’ is a national app developed by Australia's emergency services and their Government ...
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